Asian Equities Lower as Yen Falls Sharply

Asian shares shed gains on Thursday as the Chinese, Hong Kong and Australian markets slipped, while the dollar scaled a 13-year peak against the yen as it rallied on expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise rates this year.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS slipped about 0.6 percent.

The CSI300 index .CSI300 of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen fell 1.6 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index .SSEC lost 1.4 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index .HSI shed 1.4 percent.  Australian shares gave up early gains, with the S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO down about 0.3 percent, after weaker than expected business spending data suggested that rate cuts were failing to energize the economy as hoped.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 bucked the downtrend, as the weaker yen helped keep the index on track for its 10th consecutive rise, which would give it the longest winning streak since February 1988. It rose 0.7 percent after refreshing an intraday 15-year high.  “I thought the market would see a correction given the straight days of gains, but contrary to my initial view, it’s being lifted by the weak yen,” said Masashi Oda, chief investment officer at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank.